In Her Father’s Eyes is a notebook started in 1929 by Béla Weichhertz when his daughter, Kitty, was born. Initially, it was a diary recording her food intake, and her physical, cognitive, and psychological developments and behavior at home and in school. On August 26, 1939, the notebook changed into a memoir of recent political events and their impact on the family. They lost their home and Béla his work. Kitty was expelled from public school and enrolled in Jewish school. Yet, sporadically, the father continued to refer to Kitty’s intellectual progress and behavioral problems, including her budding femininity, which he criticized as immodest behavior. The last date mentioned in the book is May 15, 1942. By then, transports had begun, and Béla’s hope was that if taken, he would leave with his family.
The editor’s introduction is generally helpful but contains several errors. Magilow claims that the notebook represents the family life of the Weichhertzes. Actually, the diary is obscure about personal relationships within the Weichhertz family; there are a few details about Kitty’s relations with her parents but none about the parents’ interactions.
He also claims that most Holocaust diaries and memoirs tended to idealize family life and members, unlike this notebook. In fact, Holocaust diaries are generally characterized by unusual openness and honesty about self, family, and other Jews.
Finally, Magilow thinks that Kitty’s weak Jewish identity was shaped by the discrimination to which she was subjected. In fact, her Jewish identity started to intensify when she was forced to attend a Jewish school and learned Hebrew. Afterword, index, introduction, photographs.